Today I sat on a bench near the center of the display in the gym at the Komoks First Nations. I happened to arrive one minute before the display was opened and was told to take off my shoes. I willingly did so and then asked to be smudged before entering. As told by one of the 300 volunteers I moved in an anti clockwise direction around the gym taking in the display deeply felt as I slowly walked beside the vamps.
It was a bit overwhelming for me and I noticed the bench just off the center so sat down and just was with the center display. Several people moved about and around me as they too walked slowly and meaningful. Lost in time and space momentarily I felt a presence behind me and one of the volunteers wrapped a button blanket around me as I sat there. This caused me to bring forth deep emotional feelings for the murdered and missing women represented by patches of cloth all around me. I wept.
Gaining my masculine composure after a few minutes I removed the blanket and stood up, continuing to walk clockwise to the exit, I deposited the tobacco I had picked up upon entering into the abalone shell and sat down to put my motorcycle boots back on. Again I was lost a bit in time and space at the effect of being in the midst of such a display.
Some anger surfaced towards the Mayors of all the towns in BC who did not ask to sponsor this event. More women have been killed and are missing in British Columbia than any other province. More women are battered by their spouses in BC than in any other province and the Komoks First Nation is the ONLY place that asked to host this display. Shame. SHAME on the Mayors of every other town in BC.
I signed the guest book and slipped $100 bill into the donation box as this traveling display is not being supported by the governments of Canada in anyway. I believe in supporting what I love. This is a grass roots people supported statement/movement about our reality. Mounting my motorcycle and heading off towards home the music I had heard during the walk-through continued playing in my head.
Ann Cameron wrote it well in DAUGHTERS OF COPPER WOMAN when she penned:
We are singing our sorrow
We are singing our grief
We are singing our farewell
Why did you go?
{Excerpt from SONG FOR THE DEAD}
There are a few days left to experience this display:
WALKING WITH OUR SISTERS …EXHIBITION HOURS at Komoks first nations gym.
Fridays, Sundays, Wednesdays 1-8 pm
Tuesdays & Thursdays, 10 am-4 pm .Closed Monday:Closing Ceremony: Saturday August 15, 1:00 pm